Friday, October 29, 2010

Draper Alumnus Scott Bankert on the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs Conference, October 2010

Scott Bankert graduated from Draper in May 2010. He presented a paper entitled "Impossible Cities: Personal Accounts of Wonder in the Global Everyday" at the annual conference of the Association for Graduate Liberal Studies Programs (AGLSP) in Dallas in early October. The theme of the conference was "The Transformation of the 21st Century City." Scott has shared some thoughts about his experience at the conference below.

Scott was also recently interviewed for in.ter.reg.num: check out his interview here.

The AGLSP conference in Dallas this month was absolutely incredible. What a wonderful group of smart and kind people. There were chemists, novelists, anthropologists, economists, and migration scholars, as well as medieval scholars and classicists. The inclusion of novelists and poets seemed to me a big draw for Draper students, as so many of them are writers as well as scholars. Much advice about the writer's life- agents, balancing commitments, etc. -was discussed.

This year, they announced that there is a big push to create doctoral liberal studies programs - Georgetown now has one and UC Davis as well, with a few more schools planning to follow suit such as Stanford, OU and SMU. This is always something that has boggled me about the NYU program - that we have not expanded Draper it into a Ph.D. program.

The attendees graciously received my presentation - each presenter was given 30 minutes to present and up to 15 minutess of Q&A - now that's the way to treat a scholar! There was no rivalry or trying to shoot anyone down - it was all very open and down to earth. Several other students/recent grads presented alongside top experts in their field. I was invited back next year and intend to return. The topic will be about water.

In the future, I'd make sure to always send the AGLSP conference info to all Draper students and also call for entries for their journal, Confluence - it's a top notch journal that takes fiction as well as papers - reminded me a lot of Anamesa. This was my first conference and I cannot imagine being treated with more respect and admiration than by AGLSP.


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